Crazy lady in your masks and vehement opinions
about which of all your secret agencies
tortured the starfish overnight
when you weren’t looking
into confessing what constellation it fell from.
Crazy lady can I take you for a sign
the storm has stepped down from its pulpit
because life never cared very much
if it was understood
and you’ve got worlds in your closet
like the unfullfilled graves
of overly sensitive shoes
that want to try you on like a road
that never goes back on its word?
You’re famous as a lover
among the prophetic skulls of the paramours
for always finding the right house
on the right street on the right night
but entering through the wrong door.
You’re a cat-burglar whose heart
goes off like an alarm
everytime you get away
with another break and enter on the moon.
Though you never steal anything
that can’t be put back
I always keep my third eye open
when I’m around you
even if I’m sleeping alone
so I don’t wake up in the morning
and find my will to live shamelessly gone.
Crazy lady you rain on the sphinx in the desert
and write your name in hieroglyphic birthmarks
inside the cosmic glain of a royal cartouche
to say you were here once
and tomorrow you’ll be born again
as a black swan on a midnight river
and after that who knows
maybe you’ll become a voice coach
for a travelling talent show.
Crazy lady I adore you
for the things you throw away
like the unconvincing lines
of a bad morality play.
You’re the wise witch
of your own stagecraft
on the coal road to diamond alone.
And if the clarity drives you insane.
If your freedom seems in vain.
If you hurt in ways you can’t explain
and people are washing up along your coasts
looking for their ghosts among the dead
who gibber through your head
like bats in a lighthouse
in a frenzy of light
they mistake for a mystic experience,
tell them you salvaged all you could from the wreck
when the full moon bounced like a bad cheque
and the lifeboat overturned.
Tell them you’re not the continent
they’re looking for
and just because you’ve left the door ajar
doesn’t mean they can track their lives in
without knocking from the inside.
Crazy lady you were a widow
before you were a bride
like the new moon
rising over black waters
that broke like a watershed of pain
when you were christened
like the last lifeboat to leave Atlantis
without anyone on board.
Crazy lady no one knows
what you’ve buried at sea
when you trafficked in slavery
and captured me on my way
to have my fortune read.
How lightly I wear your chains even now
and for all the things you might be
I can’t see
forgive you somehow
for the mischance of my liberty.
The world loves freedom
but it hates the free.
The world preaches love
but love remains a mystery.
Take your chains off
and the spiders will scoff
that you’ll starve to death
without a dreamcatcher
to snare the butterfly.
Everyone reaches for high ideals
when they’re down and out at their heels
but they eat their own
like swine and farrow
when you throw them a bone
they can gnaw on like gold
down to the nutritive marrow.
And today talks a lot about tomorrow
as the living talk about the dead
as if they knew
what the dead would say
about today languishing on its deathbed
like the prelude of an afterlife that goes on forever
like a weather warning
trying to keep up with a cold front.
Crazy lady let the others thump
their monkey hearts
in a triumph of bread and circuses
to keep the mob
from spying on the watchers
and everyone and everything in its place
face by face as they put
laurels on the winners for their folly.
Don’t let the blaze blind the candle
to its own light.
Night upon night
your darkness outshines them all.
Crazy lady the fireflies
might align your mirrors
like cepheid variables
to a constellation
that changes your eyes like mood rings
and the wind never finish the loveletter
it was writing to you
in a language only you could understand
like the leaves of the poetic tree-letter Q
in the apple groves
of a Druidic tree alphabet
that sings like an orchard in bloom on the moon
because there is no end
of the things it can say
about the way
everything changes around you
like Daphne turning herself into a laurel tree
just as Apollo catches up to her
as if he were catching his breath.
Crazy lady if the others can’t see
how brave you must be
to be so free with your light
in so many dark places
where the world is not impounded
by the memory of what it thought it was,
remember they can only know the outlines of things
however they connect the stars like dots in a thought-chain,
but you know how to break into light
like a night without laws.
Life happens to them from the outside
because they don’t know how to live as you do
like a cause that’s free of its own effects.
Take perfect from perfect it’s still perfect.
Crazy lady I know you know
like a voice in a stairwell
that knows you’re there
hiding from a thousand thousand things
enlightenment finds its wisest fools
among the rejects of the usual schools
who couldn’t shape their radiance to the rules.
Their lamps can find their way to the barn.
Their starfish can cling to the rock.
But you’ve got eyes that shine alone in the dark
like two waterbirds disappearing
into the waywardness of their wings
without leaving a trace of their wandering anywhere.
They’ve got too many palings on their fence
to find a hole that would let them get out
and beyond things.
And there are locks on the gates
of the secret gardens in their hearts
they keep shut to keep things in.
They might collect stars
in the canning jar of a telescope
but crazy lady you’re the one
that undoes the lid
and lets them all fly free.
You’re what the rest of us
are supposed to be.
Free and happy
just to see
peerlessly into the mystery
there’s nothing we can’t be
or have been
or will become
that isn’t as clear as freedom
to the stars that envy us
the rarity of seeing
beyond the lucidity of being
into our own unwitnessed reality
that views the world on tour
in a field of play
that makes its themes up as it goes
like a river that flows
as easily up the mountain
of its lone reflection
as down the one
that took off its clothes
like spring snows
and jumped in.